“Whether additional installations are needed will roll out of the system in no time”

Tholen – For years, it was primarily either ‘standard’ glass Venlo greenhouses or ‘standard’ foil greenhouses that were installed internationally for growers in the most diverse locations.

The greenhouse has now become a tailor-made suit and you also increasingly come across specially designed greenhouses, for which various greenhouse builders have developed their own concepts.

To enable greenhouse builders to simulate how the greenhouse will function prior to construction, TNO has designed the SIOM greenhouse modeling program on behalf of the Hortivation Foundation. A new version of this will be delivered in week 28, with the option to also make such a digital simulation for semi-enclosed greenhouses.

With the program, companies licensed by the Hortivation Fund can design an optimal greenhouse tailored to the site. Egon: “This gives them a knowledge advantage and is an important trigger for meeting potential customers.”

Another new development is the development of a GeoKas database. Publicly available data on climate, energy and other important information that is important for the design of a greenhouse complex is available at the touch of a button in both the SIOM and greenhouse construction design program CASTA. “Thereby, local factors can be taken even more into account in the design, which can optimize the design both technically and economically.”

Click here to increase insight into a water cycle in SIOM

To avoid mistakes
Egon Janssen, greenhouse gardener at TNO, explains that SIOM has been running for seven years. The tool is used by thirteen greenhouse builders. Simulation software is not new. Wageningen University & Research also has a simulation model: Kaspro. “That system is widely used by scientists,” Egon says. “Greenhouse builders use SIOM for ‘standard’ greenhouses. This system is practical and helps them design and set up a greenhouse for cultivation anywhere in the world. If it gets complicated, we can help, and if it really gets too complicated, there are always Kaspro and the WUR specialists. ”

By simulating, the designer prevents errors. “The software makes it possible to run a cultivation digitally for a whole year, so you can see if all installations are designed according to the grower’s wishes and the climate impacts at the site.”

Simultaneously with the new SIOM update, software is also added that simulates the entire water cycle in the greenhouse. “How the water balance is and whether, for example, additional water basins or osmosis installations are needed will be revealed in the system.”

Compare better
The insertion of semi-enclosed greenhouses in TNO’s greenhouse modeling program took place at the request of the SIOM steering group. This includes 5 of the 13 greenhouse builders affiliated with the Hortivation Foundation, all SIOM users. “They decide what the development agenda will be, and the semi-closed greenhouse was high on the agenda, given the growth of that market.”

Until now, of course, simulations and calculations have also been performed by a number of greenhouse builders. However, they all have their own system with their own calculation approach. This meant that when an investor requested quotes, different answers were sometimes given to the same question. Not a problem in itself, because it is also possible with the update of SIOM, but now the calculation method is at least the same. This standardization makes it possible to compare better, while of course everyone can always follow their own strategy. ”

All dates combined
When designing a greenhouse, more and more data is involved. To ensure that greenhouse builders do not have to digitally collect information from around the world, TNO is working in the database project GeoKas on a database where public data on, among other things, climate and energy can be retrieved from one database at the touch of a button. This project is carried out by TNO on behalf of the Hortivation Foundation.

Egon explains how it works. “Simply entering the GPS coordinates of a location will soon be sufficient to obtain information, for example in historical precipitation data at that location, but also in the presence of industry. Today, greenhouse builders must also take this into account, because a nearby industrial complex can supply the growers with valuable residual heat and CO2. ”

Whether these options are there is not that complicated in itself. But the intention is that the system also provides direct access to emission data from such a complex, so that the greenhouse builder, but also the grower or the investor himself can see if the source can actually have value.

Future dream
The number of public datasets available worldwide is still growing rapidly. It makes it a big job to keep track of everything. “Not all information is already available in all countries, but meteorological data, for example, are readily available worldwide, and you also have a lot of satellite data.” A potential additional source of information is the metadata collected by Google Maps, among others. Think of descriptions of pictures of locations. “In our vision for the future, the greenhouse builder will be presented on a silver platter with all relevant information about a construction site and how the greenhouse can be integrated into the region”

The latter is precisely the role of the Hortivation Foundation, adds Lindy van der Drift on behalf of AVAG / Hortivation. “Cooperation in the pre-competitive phase. The whole sector needs the same information. Why not unlock these data together? “

For more information:
Egon Janssen
+31 (0) 6 53 46 76 64

Hortivation Foundation

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